We all know that a healthy diet is a critical part of overall mental and physical health. But diet plays a particularly important role when detoxing after alcohol abuse.
The best foods to eat while detoxing from alcohol are low-fat proteins, whole grains, foods rich in B vitamins, and fruits and vegetables. Additionally, some other foods can help curb alcohol cravings.
Detox is a crucial but often difficult first step to recovery from alcohol addiction. Supporting the body in every way possible during the detox process is critical.
The Role Of Food While Detoxing From Alcohol
Food can play an important role during the detox process. Many of the body’s functions are affected by heavy alcohol consumption, some of which are particularly important during the detox process.
There are three main roles of food during the detox process:
- To provide nutrients that become deficient as a result of alcohol abuse
- To support specific processes like the function of the liver and kidneys, which actively remove toxins from the system
- To satisfy cravings that arise while curbing the craving for alcohol
A separate goal should be to maintain proper hydration throughout the detox process. Hydration supports all functions of the body, and it helps toxins to move through the system.
Alcohol Detox Foods
The following foods are known to be important parts of an alcohol detox diet.
Low-fat proteins are critical during detox. Protein deficiency is common among people who heavily drink.
Protein is the building block for the body’s muscles, and it is important for brain, heart, and overall health.
The following foods are great sources of low-fat protein:
- beans and lentils
- broths and soups
Carbohydrates are an important part of alcohol detox. They provide energy and they contain B vitamins, which become deficient from drinking too much alcohol.
Whole grains provide carbs without leading to large swings in blood sugar levels. They also contain fiber, which supports the digestive system and other functions.
The following types of foods are great sources of whole grains:
- brown rice
- whole wheat bread
- whole wheat pasta
Vitamin B Rich Foods
Foods high in vitamin B should be prioritized during detox. Heavy drinking leads to deficiencies of this essential vitamin.
Many of the same foods that are high in vitamin B are also rich in magnesium and calcium, which are also common deficiencies among heavy drinkers.
The following foods are great sources of vitamin B:
- salmon (also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids)
- leafy greens
- whole grains
Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain many essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, potassium, thiamine, folic acid, and antioxidants. These nutrients are critical for overall health.
Furthermore, fruits and vegetables provide fiber which supports a healthy gut and helps to regulate blood sugar.
Importantly, fruits are a healthy source of sweetness and sugar. People in alcohol detox often crave sugar because it leads to similar brain functions as alcohol, such as increases in dopamine, which results in a feeling of pleasure.
How Foods May Help Curb Alcohol Cravings
There are two ways that foods can curb alcohol cravings. The first is regulating blood sugar. The second is supporting brain chemistry.
Since the body converts alcohol to sugar, many people in detox crave sugar. It is important to use healthy sources of sugar, like fruits, to satisfy this craving.
Furthermore, stabilizing blood sugar will reduce cravings for alcohol. Foods like whole grains are great at doing this.
Another way to curb alcohol cravings is to eat foods that lead to similar effects on the brain. Part of alcohol addiction is a dependence on alcohol to release certain brain chemicals which lead to us “feeling good”.
Foods like salmon, leafy greens, and nuts all support brain health and act as mood boosters.
Treatment Services For Alcohol Addiction
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, an alcohol rehab program can help you recover.
Inpatient alcohol detox and rehab programs offer the best chances at lasting recovery. These programs put a pause on your daily life so you can focus entirely on your health and well-being.
Detox is the first step in rehab. Next, an inpatient program will help you address physical and mental health concerns, work through emotional issues, and uncover behavioral patterns.
In addition to a nutritional focus to help you restore physical health post-detox, alcohol rehab programs provide behavioral therapy, counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and much more.
Find Quality Alcohol Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Bedrock Recovery Center is one of the east coast’s top inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facilities. Our programs are tailored to your needs and designed to set you up for long-term success in your recovery.
Are you ready to move past your substance use issues? Call our helpline today to learn more about our treatment options.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://nida.nih.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) https://store.samhsa.gov/product/TIP-45-Detoxification-and-Substance-Abuse-Treatment/SMA15-4131
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/medications-counseling-related-conditions
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000764.htm